From the Press box

Nicole Carroll: A one woman mission to make a name in football

End of season player review

with 2 comments

With Bolton at the weekend, its possibly the last time we could see some of these players before they leave for pastures new. This is the From the Press Box verdict on the Birmingham City 2009 – 2010 squad.

Maik Taylor
Appearances: League – 2 League Cup – 2

Despite being a regular in the team which promoted the Blues, the super loan signing of Joe Hart has left Taylor out in the cold this season, relegating him to Premier League matches against Manchester City where Joe Hart was ineligible, and league cup appearances. Unfortunately for Taylor, he was involved in the 5-1 spanking, and left people wandering whether he had much of a future at Blues. The player has already been linked with Burnley, and I suspect he may leave if he wants one last go at first team football. 5/10

Stephen Carr
Appearances: League – 34 FA Cup – 4 League Cup – 1

For a man who has come out of retirement, Stephen Carr’s contribution to the campaign have been an absolute triumph. A fantastic professional who does his job without causing a fuss, and one of the “unbeatables“ who was involved in that fantastic unbeaten run. Obviously now a massive fan favourite following the scenes at Villa Park, which has spawned songs including Lets all do the Stephen Carr, and has all in agreement that the one match ban was definitely worth it. 7/10

Lee Bowyer
Appearances: League 33 (1) FA Cup 4 (1) League Cup 1 (1)
League goals: 5 League Cup goals: 1

Another one of the unbeatable, Lee Bowyers goals and attitude have most definitely contributed to what has been a fantastic campaign. At 33, he’s definitely not a youngster, and in the latter stages of the season, his tiredness does seem to have caught up with him. Not bad for a player who was supposedly unwanted by fans. 7/10

Liam Ridgewell
Appearances: League 29 (1)  FA Cup (5) League Cup 1
League goals: 3 FA Cup goals: 1

Although a natural centre back, Ridgewell has been nothing short of fantastic in his makeshift role at left back. Following a return from a broken leg, Ridgewell has slotted into a position left vacant due to the injuries to Vignal, Parnaby and Murphy, and his made the place his own. As well as showing versatility at the back, Ridgewell’s runs towards goal, and lingering at the back post, has contributed 3 goals to the league campaign on our trail to 9th position. 7/10

Sebastian Larsson
Appearances: League 25 (7) FA Cup (4) League Cup (1)
League goals: 4

Since signing from Arsenal, Larsson has played over 144 times for the Blues, and has played his part in his teams success this season. With four goals, Seb’s had a good season, although some fans would argue this hasn’t been his greatest season for us. He seems to be constantly in the media talking about his contract, and I almost get the feeling he’ll be off to pastures new if we target wingmen this summer. 7/10

Garry O’Connor
Appearances: League 5 (5) FA Cup League Cup (1)
League goals: 1

In a season blighted by injury, O’Connor has seen very little match time this season. At the start of the season, he was featuring in the starting eleven in a lone striker role; it would be interesting to know where we would have ended up if we’d continued with that formation and the player had stayed fit. 5/10

Kevin Phillips
Appearances: League 2 (17) FA Cup 1 (3) League Cup (1)
League goals: 4

Increasing age leaves Phillips in a role which is quite obviously from the stats, a role in which he is the one to change the game from the bench. He always seems to score the important goals, such as the equaliser at home against Arsenal. It looks likely that Phillips will leave the club, and he definitely still has something to offer any new club he goes to. 7/10

Cameron Jerome
Appearances: League 31 FA Cup 4
League goals: 10

Cameron was probably not predicted to be top goalscorer this season for the Blues, but he’s managed to contribute ten to the campaign, and has proven himself to be a good striker. He does lack a footballers brain, and sometimes he infuriates fans. We’ve got a 23 year old who consistently scores, no matter what league he’s in. He wouldn’t be cheap in today’s market, and we’re lucky to have him. 8/10

Christian Benitez
Appearances: League 21 (8) FA Cup 3 (2) League Cup 1
League goals: 3 FA Cup goals: 1

There were massive hopes for the player when he came to Birmingham on loan last summer, and in his first match against Manchester United, he looked exciting and whet our appetites for what the season would bring. Despite his energy and smart moves on the ball, he has struggled to get the goals, and has struggled to get into McLeish’s first eleven. Whilst we were struggling following our unbeaten run, Benitez should have been put back into the side, rather than on the bench, as he is one of our only players who can really create anything. Please sign him up for a second season, he’s going to be electric. 7/10

Barry Ferguson
Appearances: League 36 FA Cup 5 League Cup 1
FA Cup goals: 2

Ferguson has been a class act all season, and must be one of the hot favourites for the fans voted player of the season. He shows composure on the ball, and truly bosses that midfield. Costing just over £1 million, he was a true bargain, and has been the anchor of our success this season. Long may his fantastic form continue. 9/10

Roger Johnson
Appearances: League 37 FA Cup 5

Johnson is a player who is going to battle with Ferguson for player of the season. Buying centre backs from the Championship to play in the Premiership is always going to be a massive gamble, but this was a gamble which has paid its self over ten fold. A fantastic player with a great attitude, Johnson has cemented himself into the squad, and with 37 league appearances, 38 at the weekend barring any injuries, is the only player to have played every league game this season. When we had Kenny Cunningham many seasons ago, we knew we had a quality player to build the defense around, and we’ve got this again in the shape of Johnson. Future England player? Watch this space. 9/10

Scott Dann
Appearances: League 30 FA Cup 4 League Cup 1
FA Cup goals: 1

As a centre back pairing with Johnson, Dann has gained a reputation as a solid defender in this league, and the pairing is something which is envied by other teams. Possibly not as good as Johnson but Dann is only young and has years to further improve on what he has got. For a player who was once deemed not good enough, he has proved all his critics wrong. A good second season could make him one valuable player to have. 8/10

James McFadden

Appearances: League 31 (4)  FA Cup 4 League Cup (1)
League goals: 4

If every team has a player that is a bit like marmite, than ours would surely be James McFadden. Some of our fans worship the ground he walks on, yet some cannot understand why he is continually picked. He has had a good season, but he has proved he cannot be utilised fully if he plays upfront with the likes of Cameron Jerome, and looks more comfortable out on the wing. He is a bit of quality in our squad, but not someone you can rely on for bags of goals.


Appearances: League 2 (6)

Despite our long winded chase to bag Michel, he has barely played since January, and one would think that McLeish possibly has plans to bed him into the squad next season. When he has played, he looks neat on the ball, and will only add further to the team. 5/10

Keith Fahey
Appearances: League 18 (15) FA Cup 3 (2) League Cup (1)

I’m not convinced about Fahey. He seems ok, but nothing more. We definitely need a deeper squad, and that’s what I see Fahey as: a squad player. McLeish quite clearly likes him however, as he has gained a fair bit of playing time this season. 6/10

Stuart Parnaby
Appearances: League 6 (2) FA Cup 1 League Cup 2

Another season blighted by injury for Stuart Parnaby. It is going to become increasingly difficult for Parnaby to make any difference to the team if he is constantly on the doctors table. Disappointing. 5/10

Joe Hart
Appearances: League 35 FA Cup 5

Loan signing of the season? I think so. For the amount of points that Joe Hart has helped us gain, he is possibly the most valuable player in the squad. He was a quality player before he came to us, but consistent first team football has truly shown his value, and he is surely England’s number one. With Manchester City’s goalkeeping injury problems, it looks highly unlikely that we’ll ever see Joe Hart in Birmingham colours after this weekend. A fan favourite who will be very much missed next season, lets hope he leaves with fond memories of the Birmingham faithful. England’s number 1! 9/10

Lee Carsley

Appearances: League 3 (4) FA Cup 1 League Cup 1
League Cup goals: 1

Carsleys chances have been limited this season by the fantastic form of our midfielders, and with the announcement that he will be leaving at the end of the campaign, Carsley quite obviously wants one last go at first team football. A good player whilst he’s been with the club, and a good squad member. 5/10

Gregory Vignal
Appearances: League 5 (2) FA Cup 1

Vignal is another player who has been plagued with injury this season, and this shows with his low amount of appearances for the club. McLeish seems to like him, and has praised his attitude in the press recently. Taking up an option on the player to strengthen the squad surely cannot be a bad idea.

Craig Gardner
Appearances: League 10 (3)  FA Cup (2)
League goals: 1

Unlike fellow January signing Michel, Gardner has been able to make his mark on the team, gaining first team experience and even contributing with a goal in the 2-2 draw with Everton at home. He seems to be relishing playing for Birmingham, and should be looking to feature more next season. He seems promising, lets hope it continues. 7/10


Written by Nicole Carroll

May 7, 2010 at 10:18 am

2 Responses

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  1. What about Giovanny Espinoza? Cup veteran. 🙂
    McSheffrey and Quedrue may no longer be with us, but did play a bit 😉

    Great write up otherwise, just a shame you sat on the fence about who your player of the season was. Mine’s Ferguson, then Johnson, then Hart…Surely one of them could have had a 10/10 😉

    Russell Dempsey

    May 7, 2010 at 10:30 am

  2. load of rubbish, too many 7’s


    May 8, 2010 at 9:32 am

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